What is the first thing that people usually notice about you? What are you really good at? What are you doing with your life? One in five people in their twenties report using online dating sites. Further data shows that nearly 60% of people in the United States say that online dating is a very good way to find a romantic relationship. Which means that there is a very good chance that the person you are talking to in the bar really hopes that you just leave, go home, and DM them on OKC or Tinder, but only after reading their profile to make sure you guys would click.
Okay, maybe that is not exactly how the human mind works, but I do think that the massive increase in online dating services (and even, for instance, “platonic dating” services such as meetup.com and the like) have made some very marked changes to our society as a whole and to the way people interact with one another specifically.
We Aren’t Meeting in Real Time
By virtue of the fact that so many of us find our significant others or potential friends online now instead of in person, the landscape has changed where those types of interactions typically go down. For instance, back in “the day” two people would meet at a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant to get to know one another and iron out all the weird awkward moments that are inherent to first meeting somebody.
During these meetings you would look each other in the eyes when feeling close, look away when anxious or awkward, and generally feel the other person’s engagement in a sort of shared dance between the two of you. Now the dance is entirely altered, usually done remotely, and often while watching television, doing laundry, or cooking a roast (or whatever). There’s none of that awkwardness. Not really. That awkwardness is painful, but it is also very telling. Spontaneity is scary, but it is more real. I suppose I am singing the underrated praise of shared awkwardness.
It is Hard to Decide What Dating Site to Use
We Have Nothing to Talk About
It took me four hours to read your self-summary, and boy, mine was a long read as well. So. On the upside I know everything about you. But on the downside: I know everything about you. What are we going to talk about? One of the beauties of meeting a new person is discovering each other. It is exciting, enervating and a bit scary. But pre-screening feels all too much like an interview.
We Feel Objectified
Nothing says “i’m an object” quite like a big red X plastered across your tinder picture. We don’t even have to give people a chance. If they are five pounds too heavy, or have the wrong color hair, height, or eye color, we can banish them to the netherworld of rejects.
At least at a bar, the poor schmuck or schmuck-ess can fumble their way over to a prospective mate and give them their best shot before the person laughs and walks off. And it isn’t just about how we look. These algorithm’s ask us just about everything about our prospective mate. Do they like this? Would they wear that? It feels like shopping. That makes us bags or a pair of cool jeans, not human beings.
We See Eye-to-Eye (On Everything)
On first glance, that may sound amazing, right? We agree on everything, don’t squabble over the movie choice, love the same type of wine, and always want to order take out from the same place. Every single time. But bear with me. Now, maybe I’m out on a limb, and maybe I’m getting just a little bit too lofty here. But, aren’t disagreements kinda sorta the stuff of life? Isn’t it the way we grow, mature, and learn? Yes, in the short term it may make for a good relationship. But often, in the end, the best relationships are the ones that have been through trials.
And going even further, moving past relationships for a moment, what kind of people do these hyper-curated spheres engender? If we can’t see, or even tolerate, the other side to things, if we can’t sit through our boyfriend or girlfriend’s horror movie night because we’re not fans, it cuts off the growth of a valuable skill set called tolerance. Another one that I feel is underrated and thus in need of a little bit of praise. Tolerance doesn’t mean settling, it means strength, maturity, and love.
One Last Thing…
I’m not saying don’t use dating sites. Hell, I use them too What I am saying is be aware of some of the sand-traps that are there and of the danger of a bit of dehumanization occurring. If you do however be careful and cognizant of how these sites operate and play on you (us), there is no reason you can’t find a healthy happy and long-lasting relationship. Just be careful.